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James Francis Doyle was born in 1840 in Liverpool. By 1865 he was listed in the census as an Architect and married that same year to Elizabeth Hetherington. They had five children, and the grandchild of James was the singing star Anne Ziegler.

Doyle worked on many projects within the Liverpool area but is frustrating that he did not get the true recognition while working on buildings together with Richard Norman Shaw. Doyle always seemed to have been overlooked yet designed some stunning buildings with rich history.

He is my favourite Architect for so many of Liverpool’s buildings and I have had the pleasure of working at both the former White Star Line HQ as a Historical Consultant while it was a Hotel, and also helped to install a ring of bells at St Barnabas, Penny lane.

During 1906, he was responsible for the enlarging of All Saints Church, Childwall. Upon inspection of the part 14th century building, he claimed that the walls and roof were held together with little more than ‘fresh air’ and it was stated that had he not had the opportunity to inspect the Church at this time, there was real danger of collapse.

The only known image is the chap on the right (front) while at All Saints Church, Childwall standing opposite the Vicar and Charles Hand from the Lancashire and Cheshire Historical Society. 

A brief timeline of some of his works can be found here:

  • 1874-1875: Rebuilding of the main body of the church of St Mary's and St Helen's Church, Neston.

  • 1875-1876: Credited with work at St. Catherine in Tranmere, Birkenhead.

  • 1878-1880: Credited with work at St Andrew in Maghull, Lancashire.

  • 1879-1883: Credited with work at St. Ambrose in Widnes, Cheshire (1879-83) for which he also designed the vicarage in 1900.

  • 1884: Design of Eddesbury, West Derby, Liverpool.

  • 1888: Design of Accrington Market

  • 1891-1892: Rebuilding of Haughton Hall in Spurstow, Cheshire

  • 1893-1901: Design of St. Luke in Walton, Liverpool

  • 1897-1903: Design of the former Royal Insurance Building on Dale Street, Liverpool.

  • 1897: Design of Wesleyan Church, Crosby, Liverpool. 

  • 1896-1898: Design of the former White Star Line HQ in Liverpool. (right) 

  • 1900-1912: Design of St. Barnabas in Mossley Hill, Liverpool

  • 1901: Redesign of the Grand Hotel (Llandudno)

  • 1908: Design of the south chapel of St Olav in Marygate, York.

  • 1909: Design of the Outpatient building of the Liverpool Royal Infirmary.

  • 1910: Design of St Nicholas Church, Wallasey

  • 1910: Design of St John St James Church, Bootle, Liverpool.


By 1900, James had moved to Rocky Mount in Broadgreen, Liverpool, but by 1902, his wife, Elizabeth died at the home. It was reported that the couple had separate bedrooms and James heard his wife screaming and found her in the corridor with her nightdress in flames. The bed, bedcovers and draperies were all on fire.

James Francis Doyle died on the 16th February 1913 at Rocky Mount. Probate to Sidney Walter Doyle surveyor and Eliza Frances Eastwood (wife of Ernest Eastwood). Effects £8521. He was buried at All Saints Church in Childwall but there appeared to be no gravestone for him. This was until an old map uncovered and gave the precise plot. Upon inspection, it was found that the gravestone had fallen over, and on the back of the gravestone was a single inscription noted as ‘The burial place of J Francis Doyle’.


At All Saints Church, Childwall, Liverpool. 


Rocky Mount, Broadgreen, Liverpool. 



Running multiple campaigns on abandoned buildings in Liverpool, one can become a little jaded when you only see images of a fire damaged Eddesbury. To know that this was one of James Francis Doyle’s great work, yet it takes a stout heart to continue to run any campaign when you know the building has suffered great fire damage and has been open to the elements for a couple of years.

Having worked on a website refresh to include this page for James Francis Doyle, I was googling his name and came across an image which nearly made me fall off my chair. Without any actual knowledge of the image I saw, I immediately knew that this was Doyle’s work and even more staggered that this absolutely mirrored Eddesbury. The classic design, the window frames, and the fireplaces, I had to check this fantastic building out! Standon Hall, Staffordshire, was built in 1910 as a family home for Sir Thomas Anderton Salt, a director of the North Staffordshire Railway company. The building was designed by James Francis Doyle! This could only have been one of his last works, and in my opinion, one of his greatest! The hall was sold to Staffordshire County Council in 1925 for use as an orthopaedic hospital. Pavilions for tuberculosis patients were built in the grounds in the 1930s and in 1939 it was requisitioned by the War Office to care for wounded soldiers.

The hall became a residential care home in 1983 but closed just over 30 years later. Plans were submitted to convert the hall into 19 apartments and outbuildings into seven new homes, but planning permission was refused in 2018. In 2019, a couple purchased the property and launched it as an exclusive wedding venue with accommodation.

Looking at images of this stunning building, the owners were determined to keep everything as original as possible. And looking at the images, they did just that! The stunning fireplaces are original, the staircase, the wooden panelling, everything just shouts Eddesbury but in a grander way! The images below left are Eddesbury. 





The stunning website for Standon Hall can be found via the following link

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